Welcome to Lizzie Harper’s Website!
An experienced natural history and botanical illustrator, Lizzie’s work appears in books and magazines around the world, on postage stamps and mugs. She lives very happily in Hay on Wye, and works her garden studio surrounded by plants and birds.
“ I am passionate about the natural world and love learning about the plants and animals I illustrate. ”
Explore my website and discover:
If you’re interested in finding out what I’m working on at the moment, follow my blog or find me on instagram.
“ “Botanical artist Lizzie Harper produces meticulous watercolours of flora and fauna in her celebrations of nature” ”
Country Living Magazine
“ Lizzie has consistently impressed me with her skill, professionalism and attention to detail ”
Jenny Campbell, Editor, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Links to Lizzie's Workshops, Exhibitions, Cards, and Prints
For details of Lizzie’s workshops, exhibitions, and information about greetings cards and ordering prints, click on the links.
Lizzie's latest Posts and Blogs
Below are some links to Lizzie’s latest blogs and Instagram posts.
New blog and film out, all about illustrating a habit sketch of Cow parsley Anthriscus sylvestris:
Or if you want to skip straight to the film you can find it here:
Habit sketches need to show an entire plant and how it grows, so there's less exacting detail than in some of my other botanical illustrations, but more of the plant to paint! The film and blog explain the processes and materials involved in creating a habit sketch for this pretty umbellifer.
It also ties in with the blog about Cow parsley that I published a couple of weeks ago:
It's another of my long real-time films, be warned. This one runs for just under an hour. But if you fancy spending time with me, my watercolours, and some cow parsley; then it'll be right up your street!
#cowparsley #apiaceae #queenanneslace #stepbystep #watercolor #watercolour #howtopaint #howtopaintflowers #flowerart #flowerpainting #botanical #botanicalillustration #botanicalart #wildflowers #paintingwhiteflowers #winsorandnewton #artclass #realtime ...
This is the Carline thistle, Carlina vulgaris.
I'm posting the plant with a close up to show how tricky it can be to illustrate a complicated flower when you don't have a specimen in front of you. Inevitably, you end up fudging it, just because you haven't got the florets there to dissect out. I can always tell if I've had reference to hand or not, just by glancing at one of my illustrations.
it's a very strange plant. It looks dead even when thoroughly alive because the flowers are straw-coloured, with a flush of purple given by the disk florets.
The outer "petals" are straw-coloured involucral bracts (not ray florets as you might assume). When it's wet, they curl over the top of the flower, spreading out (as shown) in dry conditions.
The inner disk florets bloom from the outside of the flower in towards the centre. Once they've flowered into the middle, the whole flower head seems to bulge upwards.
It's an incredibly spiny flowering head; and tends to be branched, but often the flowers will grow quite low to the ground, so you may not clock them as coming from the same plant.
The plant has distinctive recurved, alternate leaves. Lower leaves are woolly below. They clasp the stem.
Carline thistle likes limestone grassland, but will happily grow on sand dunes.
It's got amazing properties, medically. Not only does it reduce flatulance, increases sweating, and acts as a stomach tonic; it also is an antibiotic. Extracts from carline thistle are being used in the fight against anti-biotic resistant super bugs like MRSA.
Many thanks to the excellent website Wild flower finder for all this info; if you've not got it bookmarked then you should do. it's a very helpful resource: https://wildflowerfinder.org.uk/
#carlinethistle #carline #carlinavulgaris #trickyflowers #botanicalart #botanicalillustration #thistles #thistle #herbalism ...
This is the Common mallow, Malva sylvestris.
It grows uninvited in my garden, but as it's quite a pretty plant, and flowers late, I'm happy to give it flower-bed room.
Its seeds are super-cool, they're arranged a circle with a hole in the middle. Individual tiny "slices" of seed break off like slices of cheese, which is why some people call this plant "Cheeses".
it's a medicinal one too; lots of stuff like rapid healing, analgesic, good for respiratory conditions and insomnia.... Not tried it myself, but these old herbal remedies are frequently right, at least in part. It also makes a yellow dye.
It's yet another of these wild flowers which are ever so pink. For years I struggled to get the right pinks for species like this, Herb robert, some orchids, willowherbs, and endless other pink beauties all have similar blueish bright clean pinks. Then someone pointed me at Opera pink watercolour which has massively simplified things. it is a colour that fades if exposed to light though, so that's the drawback. But I use it a lot.
#mallow #malva #wildflowers #watercolour #flowerart #botanicalillustration #botanicalart #sciart #flowerid #pinkflowers #paintingpinkflowers ...
Just finished this Marsh violet, Viola palustris, as part of a larger batch of illustrations (plants of Hills and Moorland habitats).
Had a total nightmare when doing the leaves, I dropped a book of them (bottom left) and smeared the paint everywhere. A bit of loo roll and swearing, and a dab of permanent white gouache later, and noone would ever know.... Still, it means this original can only be priced at £30 not the sort of £50 mark it might have been if unsullied. Ah, the price of carelessness!
It's such a pretty plant; not only the flowers, but the round crenated leaves, and the stoloniferous growth habit. Some wild flowers just feel so elegant! And it makes putting together a visually pleasing compositions of them a whole lot easier than, say, doing a satisfying composition for a clump of moss. (Not knocking the moss though, you know me, I like a good moss...)
You can tell the marsh or bog violet from other violets because of the pale lilac flowers. One site says they look like washed-out pansies, which I feel is a little harsh. But they're certainly not as intensely purple as the common dog or early dog violet.
They have round leaves, and flowers borne on leafless stalks that come from the centre of leaf clumps.
But the easiest way to know it's a bog or marsh violet is to check out the habitat. If it's really boggy and moist, then chances are you've found one! Clue's in the name. I love it when that happens (and it often does, if not with the English name, then frequently with the latin name).
#marshviolet #violet #viola #violapalustris #wildflowers #bogflowers #marshflowers #marsh #bog #nature #wildbritian #ukwildflowers #flora #scientificillustration #sciart #botanicalillustration #botanicalart #flowerpainting #environment ...
New blog out. Unseasonal, but it's all about how to identify Cow parsley:
So after reading this, you should be better placed to tell your Cow parsley from your Hemlock, or your Hogweeds.
It's a really common umbellifer, and one of the earliest to flower. Always reminds me of spring, country lanes, and the promise of warmer weather.
It's a nightmare to illustrate, though (all the Apiaceae species are) thanks to the question of scale - I talk about this challenge in the blog.
Anyway, have a look if you've got a few minutes to kill.
I think the original sketchbook study done for FOR Sweden is still available to buy if anyone's interested, just drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
#Anthriscussylvestris #cowparsley #umbellifer #botany #umbellifers #apiaceae #botanicalillustration #botanicalart #botanicalsketchbook #sketchbook #naturejournal #naturalhistoryillustration ...
This is the Dewberry, Rubus caesius.
It's a relative of the blackberry but the waxy bloom on the fruit make the fruits look blue rather than glossy black. Often the bloom is so thick that the fruit look grey or white. Like blackberries, dewberries are edible and tasty. Leaves are trifoliate. The flowers are white (occasionally pink).
This is one of a series of illustrations done for a postage stamp issue for Jersey Post back in 2019. It's always a challenge with stamps. You have to get the composition right (leaving room for the queens head, name of the fruit, and price of the stamp). You also have to make the subjects botanically accurate, but still visually appealing. in the case of fruits, you need somehow to make them look tasty too!
Still, it was a treat to illustrate such a pretty berry. And trying to capture the bloom on a fruit is always fun. Crack out that white gouache, folks!
#dewberry #Rubuscaesius #botanicalart #botanicalillustration #fruits #berries #foraging #sciart ...
This is the mole, Talpa europea.
Moles are fascinating little mammals. To help with their burrowing lifestyle, their fur can "stroke" forwards and backwards and is incredibly velvety to touch. Their front paws are amazing, like fleshy spades with incredibly tough scraping claws.
they eat earthworms, an 80g mole needs 50g of worms a day, according to the Mammal society. They gather these, and other subterranean prey such as insect larvae, from the soil by building networks of tunnels several hundreds of meters long. Lower, more permanent tunnels are used in winter, but prey often congregates closer to the surface of the soil so they also use temporary shallow tunnels.
Moles sometimes store their worms in "larders", immobilising them with a bite to the head. One larder had 470 worms in it! (Mammal society).
They mate in spring, with males tunnelling miles in search of females. Most of the time they live solitary lives. Spherical nest chambers are built and lined with dry grass, and t3 or 4 babies are born naked and blind. They're ready to leave the nest within a month.
Moles are persecuted by horticulturalists and farmers. Mole hills can damage farming machinery or damage sileage crops, and the burrowing may unearth roots from below, sometimes killing the plants above the soil.
However, moles are beneficial too. They eat enormous numbers of grubs of pests such as carrot fly and cockchafer which would do far mroe crop damage than the moles do. Tunnels also are important in helping to aerate the soil in claggy places.
Mole killing is very common, and although strychnine is now illegal (which led to a slow and painful death) moles are now gassed and trapped with sprung traps. Farmers, green keepers and even keen gardeners striving for that (eco-desert habitat) perfect lawn regard them as pests. I see the problem, but being gassed to death is, I think, rather a heavy price to pay for leaving a molehill on a lawn.
Thanks to @mammalsociety for their online factsheet which I referred to heavily.
#mole #talpaeuropea #britishmammals #sciart #naturalhistoryillustration #naturalscienceillustration #watercolour ...
New blog out, about the botany of @IhlCannockChase and the recent trip https://www.iapi.org.uk/ took there, including a visit to the museum.
For a blog with a mix of social & local history, heathland botany, and to find out which heathland plant makes sheep drunk, and which burns hotter than coal, check it out.
#cannockchase #heathland #heathlandplants #botanicalart #botanicalillustration #cannockchasemuseum #iapi #gorse #heather #folklore #ethnobotany #rowan #mining #sciart ...
Habit sketches are an important aspect of doing botanical illustrations. They need to show an entire plant, and suggest how it grows within its environment. This one of the Cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvatica, was recently done for FOR in Sweden. It accompanied a large sheet of sketches of the same plant. To learn more about […] Read more
Cow parsley Anthriscus sylvestris was on the list of plants I recently illustrated for FOR Sweden. These plants are invasive in Scandinavia, and particularly troublesome in Iceland. Sketchbook studies All the botanical illustrations I do for FOR are in a sketchbook format. I love working this way; it gives me the opportunity to include tons […] Read more
Original Artwork Available to Buy
Lizzie has many original illustrations for sale.
In all cases, email her on email@example.com if you’d like to buy one of these natural history paintings, drawings, or studies.
Below is an illustrated list of all her original work currently on sale, divided into framed and unframed categories, and subject matter.